Genex Power’s proposed Kidston Pumped Storage Project is to be located on the site of the historical Kidston Gold Mine near the township of Georgetown, about 270 kilometres north west of Townsville in Northern Queensland.

The Kidston site has two large adjacent opencut pits which will act as the upper and lower reservoirs for a pumped storage scheme. The difference in height and depth of the two pits will give an average water head of approximately 190 metres.

A concrete-lined pressure tunnel will connect the upper reservoir to an underground generator powerhouse. A concrete-lined tailrace tunnel will connect the powerhouse to the lower reservoir. A shaft from surface will connect the underground infrastructure to a surface power control room, which will be connected to a transformer station. Power generated will be sold directly into Australia’s National Electricity Market.

The Kidston Project will have an installed generation capacity of 330 megawatts and will support 1,650 megawatt-hours of continuous power generation in a single generation cycle.

Genex Power has lodged a prospectus for an initial public offer and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in July. The company then plans to pursue project finance for the proposed $280 million development and aims to complete development in 2018.

Tim Forcey and Roger Dargaville at the University of Melbourne Energy Institute have pointed out that the LaTrobe Valley opencut coal mine pits have the potential to be used for pumped hydro energy storage in a similar manner, but on a much larger scale, to the Kidston Project.

The LaTrobe Valley pits cover hundreds of hectares and there would be a 130 metres elevation difference between the upper and lower ponds. Unlike the Kidston Project, the LaTrobe Valley pits are adjacent to major electricity grid infrastructure.